H12. Does your household own or rent this accommodation?

Why we ask this question

Your answer helps your community by showing the balance between rented and owned housing in your area.

Local and central government will use this information to understand any changes in the demand for housing. They can then develop and improve housing plans in your area.

The census first asked this question in 1961.

A household is either:

  • one person living alone, or
  • a group of people (who don't have to be related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities and share a living room or sitting room or dining area

If your landlord lives in this household, select the category reflecting their ownership of the property.

Owns outright

This is if you own your accommodation without a mortgage or loan.

You should also select this option if you’ve paid off your mortgage but still pay the lender a small amount in return for them looking after the deeds.

Equity release

Also select “Owns outright” if you have:

  • a lifetime mortgage (including a home income plan)
  • a home reversion plan
  • a retirement interest-only mortgage
  • a retirement mortgage

These are plans where those who own their own homes in full can raise money against their property, either as a one-off sum or regular payment.

Owns with a mortgage or loan

A mortgage is a loan from a bank, building society or other lender that helps you buy property.

Part-owns and part-rents (shared ownership)

This is if you own part of your accommodation and also pay rent for part of it. You can part-own your property with or without a mortgage or loan.

Rents (with or without housing benefit)

This is if you pay rent to a landlord to live in this property. Select this option if you pay your rent yourself or if your rent is paid from housing benefit or Universal Credit.

Mortgage holidays and rent arrears

If you are on a mortgage payment holiday, or have agreed not to pay rent temporarily, select the answer for your usual situation. For example:

  • select "Owns with a mortgage or loan" even if you have agreed a mortgage payment holiday
  • select "Rents (with or without housing benefit)" even if you are behind on your rent or are temporarily not paying rent

Lives here rent-free

Select this option if you don’t own this accommodation and don’t pay rent to live here. Select this response even if you pay towards household expenses. Some examples of rent-free living include:

  • a household paying no rent and living in a property owned by a family member or friend
  • someone paying no rent and living in the property of a deceased partner which is held in trust
  • someone paying no rent who is divorced/separated and living in a property that's owned solely by their ex-partner who no longer lives there

Don't select this option if your rent is paid by housing benefit. Choose “Rents (with or without housing benefit)” instead.

Help with deciding if you're owning or renting

Accommodation that comes with the job of a household member

Depending on whether or not you pay any rent, you should include this type of accommodation in either “Rents (with or without housing benefit)” or “Lives here rent-free”.

Examples of jobs that may come with accommodation include:

  • church employee
  • caretaker
  • military personnel

Own your home with a lease

Select either “Owns outright” or “Owns with a mortgage or loan” depending on your circumstances. Whether or not you pay ground rent isn’t relevant to this question.